The Best Cordless Trimmers for a Manicured Yard
Pick up where your lawnmower leaves off with a cordless, battery-powered string trimmer—a user-friendly, low-hassle outdoor power tool that can help you keep your yard trim and tidy.
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- Best OverallWORX WG163 GT 3.0 20V PowerShare 12″ CordlessCheck Latest Price
- Runner UpBlack+Decker 40V MAX String TrimmerCheck Latest Price
- Best Bang for the BuckBLACK+DECKER 20V MAX String Trimmer/EdgerCheck Latest Price
To give your yard a polished look, particularly in those spots you can’t easily maintain with your lawnmower, consider using a cordless electric string trimmer. Compared to traditional, gas-powered string trimmers, electric models are easier to maintain because you don’t need to worry about mixing fuel or storing gasoline. Corded electric string trimmers are another option. However, a corded string trimmer must always be plugged into an outlet to operate, which limits your range of motion. With a cordless electric string trimmer, you roam wherever you like on your property, cutting back overgrown areas for as much time as the battery charge allows. Check out some of the top cordless trimmers to find the best one for your yard maintenance needs.
- BEST OVERALL: WORX WG163 GT 3.0 20V PowerShare 12″ Cordless
- RUNNER-UP: BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX String Trimmer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX String Trimmer
- BEST FOR LARGE YARDS: Makita XRU15PT1 Lithium-Ion Cordless Trimmer
- BEST FOR PROS: EGO Power+ STX3800 15-Inch 56V Cordless Trimmer
- BEST COMBO TRIMMER: WORX WG170 GT Revolution 20V String Trimmer
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cordless Trimmer
When shopping for a string trimmer, keep in mind yard size, how often you’ll be using the tool, and who will be doing the actual trimming. The following key considerations will help you choose the right model for your needs.
Trim width, also called “swath width,” indicates how wide a path the trimmer will cut through weeds in a single pass. Many models on the market today feature swath widths of 10 to 18 inches. The wider the width, the more power the trimmer must-have, which often means the trimmer will be heavier because it will require a larger, more powerful battery.
Running a string trimmer requires a hefty dose of power, and most of today’s trimmers run on rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-on) batteries, but a few accept nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries. Li-on batteries are more powerful but NiCad batteries are less expensive (an average of $70 to $125 less). Li-on batteries also are smaller and hold a charge longer.
NiCad batteries suffer from “memory effect,” meaning if the battery is used before it has fully charged—or if it’s recharged before its power depletes—it will remember the charge levels and won’t hold a longer charge in the future. If you opt for a trimmer that has a NiCad battery, you’ll get the best results if you let it charge fully before use and drain completely before charging. For most users, a string trimmer with a Li-on battery will be the best choice.
Along with battery type, consider how much operating power the battery has, which is measured in volts. Today’s rechargeable string trimmer batteries average from 18 volts up to 60 volts of power. More powerful batteries at the high end often are intended for commercial use and can cost $200 or more per battery. The string trimmers in this category often sell without a battery (or battery charger), which the user must purchase separately. Batteries at the lower end are sufficient for powering many string trimmers and one or two batteries often come with the purchase of a trimmer.
Ease of Use
Right from the start, cordless string trimmers are simpler to operate than gas-powered trimmers because there’s no fuel to mix or time and energy spent yanking a pull-cord. Beyond that, a couple of additional factors will help determine how easy the tool is to operate.
- Auto feed vs. bump feed vs. button feed: This pertains to how the tool releases an additional trimming line as it becomes frayed and broken during use. The standby is a bump feed where the user bumps the bottom of the trimmer—the area where the spool attaches—on the ground to release a few inches of line. Some newer models feature an auto-feed sensor that gauges the length of the string and releases more when needed. Still, others feature a push button that releases more line. Auto and button feeds eliminate the need to bump the spool, which can reduce the risk of damage if bumped too hard, but many commercial-type trimmers still use bump feed because it’s quick and easy.
- Curved shaft vs. straight shaft: Some stringers feature a straight shaft that runs from the head of the trimmer to the end while other models feature a distinct curve in the shaft about two-thirds of the way down. Curved-shaft trimmers often are easier to operate since the spool end already rests at a handy angle for cutting weeds. Straight shaft trimmers often accommodate interchangeable tools, such as a tree trimmer head, which can be swapped out depending on what you’ll be trimming. In general, straight shaft trimmers work better for users at least 6-feet tall, while shorter users will appreciate curved shaft trimmers.
Battery-powered string trimmers have a distinct advantage over gas-powered trimmers when it comes to noise pollution. Gas-powered trimmers are moderately loud, emitting an average of 90 decibels—or about the same loudness that a motorcycle makes when it passes by at a distance of 25 feet. By contrast, a cordless string trimmer emits approximately 77 decibels, which is comparable to the loudness of living room music.
Our Top Picks
The best string trimmer should be durable, easy to use, and powerful enough to handle your individual weed-cutting needs. The models on this list are best suited to a variety of landscapes and users.
1. BEST OVERALL: WORX WG163 GT 3.0 20V PowerShare 12″ Cordless
Trim with precision using the Worx WG163 GT 3.0 20V PowerShare Cordless String Trimmer & Edger. This 2-in-1 tool features an adjustment that switches it instantly from trimming to edging to help create crisp, clean lines along paths and walkways and around the perimeter of a lawn. Running on a 20-volt lithium-ion battery, the Worx includes several features that make it extra user-friendly. For one, the head of the tool tilts to enable easier trimming on sloped terrain. For another, the Worx has a nifty spacer guard to help keep it a safe distance away from obstacles like tree trunks and shrubs.
2. RUNNER-UP: Black+Decker 40V MAX String Trimmer
The BLACK+DECKER 40V Max String Trimmer offers everything the average lawn owner needs to keep curb appeal at its best. It features an auto-feed spool, so no bumping is necessary. Like our top pick, this trimmer converts to an edger for making clean cuts along sidewalks and drives. This 13-inch swath string trimmer comes with a 40V lithium-ion battery featuring a charge indicator so the user can see just how much trimming power remains before needing to recharge. The battery is interchangeable with other BLACK+DECKER 36V and 40V cordless tools, which include a hedge trimmer and a snowblower.
3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX String Trimmer/Edger
Keeping a yard neat and tidy doesn’t have to break the bank with the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX String Trimmer/Edger. This trimmer has plenty of power to chew through tall grass and weeds at an affordable price point. It features a 10-inch cutting swath, an automatic feed spool, and power from a 20V lithium-ion battery. Weighing just 4.5 pounds, and with a trigger to control its speed, this trimmer is an easy one to maneuver, and it performs double duty as an edger as well.
4. BEST FOR LARGE YARDS: Makita XRU15PT1 Lithium-Ion Cordless Trimmer
Large yards call for long-lasting power, and that’s a given with the Makita XRU15PT1 Cordless Trimmer, which comes with four batteries. From a name synonymous with quality power tools, the Makita trimmer runs on two, 18-volt lithium-ion batteries at once—for a total of 36 volts of power—and it comes with a total of four batteries to easily switch out when the first two run down. The trimmer has two speeds to match the type and thickness of grass or weeds, features bump feed line advancement, and comes with a reverse rotation function so the user can reverse the direction of the head if the line tangles in weeds. This high-powered trimmer will chew through unwanted weeds and grass in short order, making it a good choice for large yards, but this isn’t a tool for the faint of heart. The Makita string trimmer weighs a beefy 21 pounds and requires some arm muscle.
5. BEST FOR PROS: EGO Power+ STX3800 15-Inch 56V Cordless Trimmer
Landscape maintenance pros need to look no further than the EGO Power+ STX3800 Cordless Trimmer. This bad boy runs on a hefty 56-volt lithium-ion battery, which does not come with purchase of the string trimmer but is available separately. This commercial-quality string trimmer features a high-efficiency motor with enough power to chew through a wide, 15-inch swath of weeds with ease. It features bump mode line advancement and weighs in at a hearty 13 pounds, so it works best with a strong operator.
6. BEST COMBO-TRIMMER: WORX WG170 GT Revolution 20V String Trimmer
The head on the WORX WG170 GT 20V Trimmer and Edger tilts up to 90 degrees, making it easy to reach weeds on slopes while standing comfortably. It cuts a 12-inch swath and operates on a 20V, lithium-ion battery. Buyers get two batteries plus a charger with the trimmer. At the push of a button, the trimming head converts to an edger that rolls easily along the edge of a sidewalk or driveway. The batteries are interchangeable with other WORX 20V cordless tools, including the WORX 20V drill and leaf blower. The string trimmer comes with a handy spacer guard that keeps it from bumping into plants and the shaft adjusts to suit taller or shorter users.
The Advantages of Owning a Cordless Trimmer
The portability of a cordless string trimmer means the user is not limited to cutting weeds by the length of an extension cord. Likewise, cordless trimmers offer certain advantages over gas-powered trimmers.
- Many manufacturers offer a line of power tools, such as leaf blowers, that accept the same rechargeable batteries used to run cordless string trimmers.
- Cordless string trimmers come with push-button start—no pull-cord cranking necessary.
- No need to store fuel and no-fume operation.
- Neighbors are sure to appreciate not waking up to the sound of a loud gas-powered trimmer at dawn.